Sanchez fulfills marathon dream


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Cristian Sanchez still smiling after running 26.2 miles.

By Matthew Martinez, Mount Carmel High School

Mount Carmel senior Cristian Sanchez ran his first ever marathon on October 7th. As a sophomore, he decided to set a goal for himself of running the Chicago Marathon by the time he graduated from high school. Sanchez never thought of himself as much of an athlete, so he wanted a challenge. “Running 26.2 miles was definitely a challenge,” he stated.

After the football season ended in Sanchez’s sophomore year, he began to run three miles a day, five times a week. Sanchez began training seriously in November of his junior year. He used a regimen written by an MC alum who was a marathon runner. Sergio Sanchez, Cristian’s dad, also an MC alum and board member, used the same regimen to train when he ran a marathon in 2002.

Sanchez went on a 20 mile run, three weeks before the marathon. After the 20 mile run, he completely stopped eating sugar. The day prior to the marathon, everyone went downtown to the Marathon Expo, Sanchez observed that there was so much great energy in anticipation.

The day of the event, he left his house and took an Uber to Grant Park. There were about 45,000 people running in the marathon. He had some sugar before the race, which later gave him the extra push.

He felt great, when the race started, the first mile was “extraordinary” Sanchez stated. Thousands of spectators were cheering for the runners.

The route for the race paced through 29 neighborhoods. Pilsen and Boystown were a few examples of particularly festive neighborhoods. Throughout the race, people were holding signs, cheering and even handing out water for the runners.

Sanchez ran alone while listening to music for 5/6th of the race. He saw former MC math teacher, Mr. Rick Good, also running his first marathon.

Around the 13th mile, Sanchez still felt great, but at mile 16, he started to worry. Sanchez said he “hit a wall” around mile 18, “probably thinking about it too much,” he added.

The second to last mile “seem to last forever,” he stated. When he hit the final mile it, “went by fast.”

Sanchez was able to sprint the last few hundred yards and finish strong to qualify for a medal with the time of six hours and twenty minutes.

Given the challenge of running 26.2 miles, one question seems relevant: Would he ever do it again?

Sanchez’s response was interesting. “Right after I finished, I probably would have said ‘never again’ – but thinking back on the experience, it was something special. I wouldn’t mind doing again.”



This story was originally published on The Caravan on October 25, 2018.